Dubai - Skipper Misbah-ul Haq has led Pakistan's resistance with a gritty 97 to
thwart Sri Lanka's victory bids on the fourth day of the second Test in
Dubai on Saturday.
Misbah missed his sixth Test hundred by a mere
three runs but a career best 70 not out by Sarfraz Ahmed and a defiant
32 by Bilawal Bhatti kept Pakistan's fight to take them to 330-7 at
close on a cloudy day.
When bad light and drizzle ended play 15
overs before schedule, Saeed Ajmal was on seven and Pakistan were
leading by 107 runs with a full day's play remaining.
added an invaluable 67 runs for the seventh wicket with Bhatti to
frustrate the Sri Lankan bowlers who bowled with discipline and patience
on a pitch which had little response for bowlers.
Sri Lanka will
look for an early wrap up of Pakistan's second innings to take a 1-0
lead in the three-match series after the first Test ended in a draw in
Abu Dhbai last week.
The third and final Test will be played in Sharjah from Thursday.
left-arm spinner Rangana Herath spun one across Misbah's bat to hit the
off stump just 20 minutes before tea it looked as if the match would be
over soon but Sarfraz and Bhatti kept the fight before Eranga bowled
Bhatti in the dying moments.
Sarfraz said he felt more responsibility after Misbah's fall.
I was playing with Misbah, he was guiding me," said Sarfraz. "But when
he got out I felt more responsibility and I will continue to fight on
Sunday and if we add another 100 then we can win this match."
improved on his highest Test score of 40 he made against South Africa
at Centurion earlier this year by posting his maiden half century. He
has so far hit seven boundaries during his 123-ball stay.
Lanka had a good chance of dismissing Sarfraz at 51 but paceman Suranga
Lakmal dropped a regulation caught and bowled chance to add to his
team's woes after Misbah foiled them for nearly two sessions.
valiant effort helped Pakistan avoid their first-ever innings defeat
against Sri Lanka before his 412-minute resistance ended.
Herath said Sri Lanka will look for early wickets.
"The pitch is still 50-50 so if we can get them for another 50 more we can win," said Herath.
Misbah, who took 38 balls to add to his overnight score of 53, hit eight boundaries and a six under difficult circumstances.
added an invaluable 129 for the fourth wicket with Younis Khan (77), 52
with Asad Shafiq (23) for the fifth and 45 for the sixth with Sarfarz
to help Pakistan avoid innings defeat but finally succumbed to some
persistent effort from Herath who has figures of 2-124.
Paceman Nuwan Pradeep had the best figures of 2-50 while Eranga took 2-70.
resumed on 132-3 and needed Younis and Misbah to dig deep but Younis
tried to drive a slightly wide delivery from Lakmal, managing only to
edge it to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who held his eighth catch
of the match.
Younis batted for 235 minutes and hit five boundaries, adding 129 runs for the third wicket with his skipper.
Lanka took the second new ball with the score at 198-4 and were
instantly rewarded in the second over when Eranga had Shafiq caught in
Both Misbah and Sarfraz survived confident leg-before
appeals -- with the skipper reverting Indian umpire Sundaram Ravi's
decision on 78 to add to Sri Lanka's day-long frustration.